Safely Run a 5K in the Florida Heat

Pink on Parade typically starts at dawn and boasts wonderfully crisp and cool October morning air. Participants in the past have usually crossed the finish line well before the sun hangs the highest. However, with this year’s race being virtual, there is flexibility to run throughout the day and with it, the danger of heat exhaustion lingers heavier than ever before.

In order to ensure the safety of our runners, while being together in spirit, we asked AdventHealth's own Lauren Sperling, Physical Therapy Assistant and 20-year veteran runner, to get her professional advice.

“The most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated,” Sperling said. Runners should always drink a glass of water before running and bring water with them to drink as they go. CamelBaks or similar products are great, but a bottle of water works just as well. With temperatures easily reaching the high 80's even in the morning and with humidity as high as 100 percent, the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion is very real. High humidity is dangerous because you don't sweat as much as you normally would when it's humid, and the body relies on sweating for cooling down your body.

Lauren recommends running in the morning or evening hours when temperatures are generally lower than the blazing afternoon heat. If your schedule doesn't allow for it and you find yourself having to run in the afternoon sun, you should find a path with shade, make sure you're wearing at least an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen, and take regular walking breaks to rehydrate and cool down.

“Sports drinks or waters enhanced with electrolytes are also recommended and, If you don't want that much sugar from your sports drink you can do what I do and cut it with half water. That way you still get some of the energy and the electrolytes but with less calories,” Sperling said.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
If you experience the following symptoms you should immediately move to a cooler place, stop exercising, and cool down by pouring chilled water over your head, ears, neck and wrists or use wet cloths, compresses, and fanning. If symptoms persist, you may need to seek medical attention.

Watch for:

  • Cool, moist skin
  • Dark urine
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness

If symptoms worsen, seek medical attention immediately by calling 911 (or your local emergency number) right away. Worsening symptoms can include:

  • Dry, hot, and red skin
  • Extreme confusion
  • Fever (temperature above 104 degrees)
  • Irrational behavior
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

For more running safety tips and event updates, visit our blog or Facebook, AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida, frequently right up until race day. We can achieve so much more when we work together and cheer one another on. Together in spirit, let’s unite for those who have been affected by breast cancer.

Funds raised through Pink on Parade will help provide screenings for early detection, new research, survivor education programs and comfort for those whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer. Running pink can feel powerful no matter where you choose to run your race, all that matters is that you can make a difference… one step at a time.

Register today at

AdventHealth Pink on Parade Virtual 5K

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